Jan 19, 2013 7:00am PST
life, alexis wineman spent her time alone. >> i was very quiet because i couldn't say anything right. i was picked on for the way i spoke. i really didn't have any friends. >> reporter: her parents knew there was something wrong, but their small town of cutbank, montana, didn't have the resources to figure out what it was. at age 11, after years and years of searching for answers, a doctor finally put a name to her condition -- pervasive development disorder. a mild form of autism. typically children with autism are very intelligent. but very quiet. socially awkward, and they don't respond appropriately to interactions with other people. typically they don't end up becoming beauty queens either. but wineman says one day she simply decided not to let her condition define her. >> i longed to really accept myself and my autism. and i realized that my autism isn't what defines me. i define what is autism. >> she entered the miss montana pageants as a way to prove to herself she could do anything she set her mind to. >> i fell in love with the program. good thing, too, because i won. i wasn'